MANILA -- Persia Grill and Kite Kebab Bar have extend their vegetarian menu by introducing Beyond Meat plant-based kebabs.
Kian Kazemi, whose family owns and runs Persia Grill and Kite Kebab Bar, credits younger brother Arian for the Beyond Meat initiative.
Arian saw the rising interest in healthy living and plant-based diets even before the pandemic. This was already in the works six months ago but was delayed because of the lockdown.
The family did a lot of research and development to support this addition to their menu. A big part of this was looking for the right plant-based meat substitute to use in their kebabs.
To their credit, the kebabs do look and taste like ground beef. It even has the same texture, with that slight resistance to the bite characteristic of grilled ground beef.
“We did blind taste tests with many different brands from different suppliers. Beyond Meat consistently came out on top in terms of flavor and texture,” said Kazemi.
While there have been a lot of plant-based burgers that have popped up recently, putting plant-based meat in kebabs has its own challenges. In a burger, any difference in flavor and texture can be covered up by bread, sauce and other ingredients used in the burger.
With kebabs, which are grilled over charcoal and served on a plate, diners can take a bite of the Beyond Meat kebab on its own and easily compare it with the real thing.
Besides the healthy benefit of having little to no cholesterol, Kazemi said Beyond Meat kebabs are filling without that uncomfortable feeling of bloat. In addition, having a plant-based meat meal replace a meat-filled meal lessens the guilt for those on diets.
The cost difference is not bad. While the Chelo plate with two kebabs normally costs P365, the Chelo Beyond Meat Kebab plate with two plant-based kebabs is priced at P469.
Kazemi noted that they have made adjustments to make these vegan by removing butter and yoghurt from these plates, although those who aren’t as strict with their diets can request to put these back.
Persia Grill also has a pita bread sandwich with one kebab with onions and grilled tomatoes for P225.
Besides the dishes available in the restaurants, the Kazemis sell Beyond Meat kebab mix as frozen packs (P760/400g). Home cooks can shape these as kebabs, meatballs, or even burger patties then pan-fried to make a meal.
With the success of making these as kebabs, Kazemi hinted that they are integrating Beyond Meat in other recipes which will be available at Persia Grill and Kite Kebab Bar soon.
The Chelo Plant-Based Vegan Kebab Plates and Plant-Based Vegan Kebab Wraps are available at all branches of Persia Grill and Kite Kebab and Bar. These dishes, as well as the Beyond Meat Plant-Based Kebab Mix packs, are available from selected branches and the Persia Grill website.